$135 didn't get very much

United States
June 1, 2012 11:38pm CST
I made a discussion before I moved how expensive it is to shop for food and other essential non food items. Some people said they only pay $350 a month on food for a family of 4. I just don't see how they do it unless they have some other means, or don't add up all the extra things like having to buy milk and other items as they run out. My budget for everything this month is $500. That means over a 4 week month they have $125 to spend and that will have to last. Well tonight I suggested they go to the new dollar store near us because it is cheaper than walmart. They went over by $10 and didn't get half of what I wrote down. The bill came to $135. I hope it lasts for a week. One good thing is that the laundry detergent was $5 this time and not $14. However the toilet paper was $17. But there were 24 triple rolls. I got 12 and they got 12 out if it so that should last awhile. They got me a nice mop and mop liquid. The mop has a Mr Clean Magic Eraser on it to get up the scuff marks. I wish they had gotten some rice but I didn't have it on the list. the shopping carts are small there. I don't know if they saved much or not. I have some potatoes and veggies so I know I'll be eating okay. They got a few of those frozen entrees. I can make 2 meals out if one by adding two vegetables to it and maybe a baked potato cut in half. Hopefully the next grocery run will be better because we won't need any non food items. One of my friends is sending mr a bunch of coupons. I hope I can use them. She is in NY and I'm in GA.
2 people like this
10 responses
@olliekobra1 (1826)
2 Jun 12
grocery shopping is now so expensive i collect all of the coupons from the magazines and newspapers that i can which helps and the price is going up all of the time. its getting harder all of the time which is why im trying to earn money online if i can
2 people like this
• United States
3 Jun 12
It's just awful how the prices are. Food goes up but our pay stays the same. They try to trick us with prices. They use smaller packaging and then put the same price on it. Henderson the cost is still higher.
1 person likes this
3 Jun 12
It's wrong, no wonder there is a global recession on when big money companies are trying to extract as much money from people as they can
@winterose (39918)
• Canada
3 Jun 12
she offered me the coupons too but I probably would not be able to use them in Canada. there are coupon sites that you can download coupons, from the net. I think that would be a great way to save as well. Yes it is incredibly expensive for food here in Montreal as well.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (101837)
• United States
3 Jun 12
If you go to some site like MyPoints or other rewards sites then download through their portal you even can get points after the store sends in the coupons you redeem. I do not know exactly how they track it, but it works.
1 person likes this
• United States
3 Jun 12
I've used them. There's not enough that I use to really make a difference. I can usually get the generic brands cheaper. I'm going to email the companies for sone free coupons and whatever else and see what happens. I'll wait for my wifi to get up first.
1 person likes this
@winterose (39918)
• Canada
3 Jun 12
I was going to suggest that too.
@much2say (40097)
• United States
9 Jun 12
Coupons - yes - you can save so much with them if you get in the habit of using them! But I must admit in most cases, I don't go to "regular" chain grocery stores much anymore. Things seem to be more expensive there (I rarely buy non food items from there) - even produce (probably because they have "standards" in what they sell, well no wonder their presentation looks good). But sometimes you can find a good deal (like with meats) - and if you have a coupon, even better (though there rarely are coupons for meats)!! You can get coupons online too - even on some earning sites . Places like Walmart or even Target can be cheaper, depending on the item. They accept coupons too. I like Trader Joes. I think some of the things there wind up being cheaper. And don't hesitate to look into health food stores that seem expensive. We have Whole Foods - and although on the whole they are expensive, they do have a generic store brand that's not too bad in price. They and the store Sprouts have bulk items that you bag yourself - and that can often be cheaper too. Spouts has great produce at great prices - but I do notice it goes by faster than the ones in a "regular" store - timing is everything when storing produce. Also at Sprouts, on Wednesdays, you get to take advantage of the new week sale AND the sale from the previous week. We also have Fresh & Easy out here. They have a Friends card system . . . you scan your card in and accumulate points for the groceries you buy. You go online to download the coupons you select for that week - plus print out the coupon for X amount off a particular total amount. And in the end, all those points can be redeemed towards groceries - I love that!! Last year it got me a free roast! But since their prices are supposedly good (in most cases yes, but not always), they do not accept coupons other than their own. Dollar Stores - well, not everything is worth the dollar - as mentioned above when it comes to per ounce. I know with foil it's that way, even if it's Reynolds . . . and I refuse to buy cheap foil because it's useless! And I have my concerns about nutrition too .. . and if they do not meet my nutrition label requirements, I won't buy it. A lot of prepackaged meals/mixes contain MSG in it too - even by other names if it doesn't actually say MSG - and we get migraine headaches from that . . . cheaper foods tend to have this additive, so I buy food carefully there. So much work being frugal, eh? But well worth it!! It's a good habit to get into!!
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Jun 12
We don't have a store named Sprouts and the other place you mentioned. I do go to Target.. or I did when I lived close to it... we were just 3 miles away from it in Bethlehem... but now we are in Winder and it is a little far when you think about gas costs. But the prices in Target are really good on foods. I think it is worth going there when you consider the savings will probably be more than the gas used to get there.
@much2say (40097)
• United States
9 Jun 12
Living in Los Angeles, I think I take for granted that we have all sorts of stores in any given part of this place!! Target is great - I like that many of them now have a grocery section - and the prices for the non food items are pretty good too. It's a place where you can almost do one stop shopping . . . except I'm not into their produce much (except sometimes their berries) - as I don't need the quantity of vegetables that are shrink wrapped in a package.
@RitterSport (2452)
• Lippstadt, Germany
3 Jun 12
oh my dear PQ you are still not out of that scrimping and saving mode..... I really pity you cause of this. Costs of living get higher here too. Sometimes I wonder where the prices for these basics will get to. I mean it shopping in the discounters here like Aldi, and Lidl and the like but you still do notice that prices for some stuff go up a little here and a little there.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Jun 12
Yep, and I ate a loaf of bread and half of another one that had a bad chemical taste. I didn't want to throw food away. Well today I called the company that manufactures the bread and the man was glad to hear from me. He is preparing a goody bag for me and sending someone to our house tomorrow ir Monday to puck up the bad bread. He said that it is some bad yeast that I'm tasting. I felt that since I paid for it and it didn't make me sick I shouldn't waste it. I'm glad I called them. I'll get my bread replaced.
• Lippstadt, Germany
9 Jun 12
thats really great news you got the bread replaced. I am also trying to shop well but my downfall this past week were cherries. They were an Italian product as our cherries here in Germany arent ripe yet, and they are horribly expensive. But when I got them last week Monday I discovered they are like in my fathers garden, the ones which are yellow and not red inside, and so I was hooked and got me some more during the week. Friday after work I got to the supermarket on the way home and had wanted lettuce, it was gone, but then I got me a container of apricots and some other fruits which wont interfere with the blood sugar. Its quite expensive to get a good variety of fruits and veges but I try my best.
@Pose123 (21667)
• Canada
9 Jun 12
Hi PointlessQuestions, It is very difficult for those of us on a fixed income to make ends meet. I often shop at Walmart, but I find that there prices are not always the best at least here in Canada, maybe they are in the US. We have a grocery store called No Frills, and they always seem to have the best specials, even so prices are going up all the time. I'm glad that a friend is sending you coupons because these always help. I watch for specials all the time. Blessings.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Jun 12
Hi Pose! Walmart is oretty high here too but some things are reasonable. They have the egg rolls that I love. I get them every time I go. They are just under $7 fir 12 egg rolls. I like the chicken ones.
@911Ricki (13602)
• Canada
3 Jun 12
Yes, usually coupons can be used across the US wide, but not say in Canada. I try to use coupons but sadly the Canadian coupon system isnt as good as the US. I highly recommend you start couponing. Try making a list of items you use, then emailing the companies for coupons just explain your havign a hard time, and make it personally. I usually say I have 3 cats, and 1 rabbit and Im having a hard time but my babies are important to me so they come first. But seriously that ridiculous. Now if I just pay for myself I try about $50.00 a week on food, but a lot of times I go over and its hard. It would be evern harder if you had others who dont follow those rule of thumb. I know toilet paper can be expensive but if you stock up while its on sale and coupons you can get them cheap. Awhile back they had Royale on sale for $4.00 12 pk double roll and I had $1.00 & $1.50 off so I bought a few. If you want some help with couponing you can message me and Ill try and help you out. I know Canada and the US coupons are similar but different. Ive been using them for years and it can be very confusing. Im just about to email companies for coupons, and make a shopping list. I dont have a penny to spend on groceries but I cant starve so I will spend as little as possible and try to stretch it. I do have some food here which Im trying to stretch.
1 person likes this
• United States
3 Jun 12
That's a very good idea. Do you ask for coupons every month? I mean, do they actually send coupons I'd you ask frequently? I will start asking for coupons. Thanks so much for your help. I'll let you know how it goes. I'll message you if I need sone help. Thanks again!
@bunnybon7 (37189)
• Holiday, Florida
2 Jun 12
coupons are good if you have certain things you have to have that is as cheap as generic. but we either forget them or else we go and find generic is cheaper or the store brand. we have a terrible time keeping up with groceries here, since no one likes to cook that can have time to. my daughter isnt home much. her bf is to lazy most of the time yet only likes to eat special things made a certain way. im the only other one here with time to cook and i hate cooking worse then any other task. hence very few things get actually cooked.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Jun 12
One of my Mylit friends is sending me some coupons. She sent some already but I never got them. They were sent to my old address but we moved our mail box to here. The post office us supposed to send them here but I never got them. I'll use them if ir is stuff I use.
@GardenGerty (101837)
• United States
2 Jun 12
Food does not include cleaning supplies so people who spend 350 are not counting that. The toilet paper sounds pretty reasonable. I spend about 17 for thirty six double rolls so 24 triples is good at that price as well. I really do not find the Dollar Stores on the whole to be less expensive than Wal Mart. On a few items it is but not consistently. I like to buy produce at Aldi, but other things are not always that much of a savings. I eat a lot of eggs, as it keeps me from feeling hungry later in the day. I got eggs at 1.09 per dozen at Aldi yesterday. Wal Mart then had a 5 dozen case of eggs for $5.76, which is just a little over 5.15 per dozen. Everything seems to be going up.
• United States
2 Jun 12
Hi GG. Our walmart has the 5 dozen eggs at 7 something. It was the last time I was there. Still that is cheaper than buying lots of meat. We don't have Aldies, but I hear one is coming to Bethlehem. We are in Winder now, so we won't be going much to Betlehem even though it is only about 8 miles away. We are closer to Wamart and Save. lot. I think for lunch I will make a baked potato and some Camobell's Chunky Soup. I'll use the soup like a gravy on my potatoes. I'll ask my daughter to pick up some mire potatoes and rice and we should be okay for the week. I'll need more eggs too. I was really disappointed at how little that money bought. We still need garbage bags and those food items I mentioned. That money has to last. I think we are about done buying non food items now for the month. I hope.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (101837)
• United States
2 Jun 12
The price on eggs just dropped this week. I think it has to do with summer increases production. Eating eggs sure stretches your protein budget. I see I said $5.15 when I meant $1.15 per dozen. You save on gas when you go to one store pretty consistently. I think I would just use little waste cans lined with the shopping bags that come home for free until you can afford to get garbage bags. I prefer them for the kitchen but I would not short my food budget to get them. Your potato and Campbells is a good idea. I only go to Aldi and Sam's Club once a month, if I am going to that city for something else as well.
• United States
3 Jun 12
Next week I'll ask that they shop at walmart. I still blend a few things for this week and I need some yarn to continue working on my afghan. Walmart is the only place I can but cheap yarn. That red heart yarn is a great price.
1 person likes this
@sid556 (31005)
• United States
3 Jun 12
I don't know but when 3 of my girls were still at home a few years ago, I would have like 60.00 left over after my rent and bills. I still had to buy gas and food and so I ended up racking up credit cards just to survive. Now I only have one left at home and the credit cards are consolidated and getting paid off. I don't know about 350.00 per month...that just seems like a stretch to me. I am very frugal and when there were four of us, I'd have to say that was close to impossible and that was prior to the economy getting so bad. Now it's just me and my youngest daughter and I struggle worse now than then. I will say that I plan meals carefully. When I make spaghetti, I freeze the sauce and so I have some for the following week or later on in the week. I really make use of my freezer so I have meal for the next week. I will buy a whole chicken and make a meal of potatoes and veges and save the left over chicken to make a casserole or stew. Freezer bags are the best investment ever. I save left-over everything and use it up. sometimes my daughter can make a decent meal just on leftovers that I have in the freezer. We also eat a lot of salads. , vege sandwhiches etc. which this time of year is pretty cheap.
• United States
9 Jun 12
Well I don't have $500 for groceries and essential non food items this month. I only have about $300. My two doctor appointments cut a $110 hole in my budget. Thankfully my meds are covered by insurance and my copay is just $2.60 a piece. I'm making one can of soup last for 2 or 3 days by adding potatoes and carrots and onions and water. When I get a chance I will but some broth to go with it. The potato soup that u made I added ramen noodles to it and my daughter and I ate that. I made a carrot, apple and pineapple salad and that lasted 3 days. I'm going to make another one as soon as I get more carrots.
@sid556 (31005)
• United States
9 Jun 12
Oh yes...salads! we do eat a lot of salads and at this time of year we can get things pretty cheap and make them last...salads and vege sandwhiches! Soups are also great and help stretch the budget! We always find a way no matter how tough things get, don't we? I look back and I'm just amazed that we never once went hungry. Times were tough but we always juggled and got by ..still do. I swear that poordom breeds creativity and survival skills!
• United States
2 Jun 12
Well I have a family of 5 to feed on usually less than $125 a week, anything over 75 is a good week. It's a matter of skill to know what's a good price and what you need vs what you want. The dollar store is good for some things, but again you have to know your prices as sometimes it's a smaller package which can make it more expensive if you break it down by cost per ounce. Again depends what it is. We shop at Aldi alot, some weeks it's all I shop at.
• United States
2 Jun 12
Maybe next week will be better. I don't see how this will last a week. We do have about 6 ramen left. They don't let me shop anymore. I guess I should be glad they didn't shop at their favorite store which is Ingles. They sho the yellow tags but still mist if their prices are ridiculous. They did have a good buy on bread the other week which was 60 cents a loaf. We don't have a big freezer anymore. Just a side beside. One shelf is just for ice. The ice maker doesn't work. So we can't buy for a month. Nothing lasts us a month anyway. Sam's is out because we have to pay a high price (about $40) to become a member. That eats up any savings for new members. I think the next grocery run will be at save a lot. It's just getting the family to go there. They dont like the poor quality of some of their foods.